Land sale leaves dogs homeless

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 August, 2013, 1:49pm

An animal rescue group is looking for a site on which it can take care of dozens of dogs after it was told to vacate its existing home by next April.

Sai Kung Stray Friends said its site at Tai Lam Wu will be reclaimed by its owner next year despite the organisation having invested more than HK$2 million in its operations there over the past four years.

Chairwoman Narelle Pamuk said the landowner had previously promised to sell them the site and required the group to pay HK$900,000 in advance to secure the land. She said that after they had paid, the owner withdrew the property from sale, and the group was still seeking the return of the money.

Pamuk said she was told the site would be turned into storage space instead.

The group is currently paying a monthly rent of HK$20,000 for the site to house rescued dogs and arrange adoptions for them. Pamuk said it largely depended on donations.

"It's such a disappointment and heartbreak that we must go, as we have all put so much hard physical work and passion into the development of this community project," Pamuk said.

She added that the kennel was recognised and respected by the Sai Kung community, and schools had brought their students to visit to raise awareness of animal welfare issues.

Pamuk said one site she had in mind for the group was part of the land property tycoon Lee Shau-kee offered to donate to build homes for young people.

The government turned down Lee's offer, but urged landowners with similar plans to work with non-profit organisations.

According to information from the Land Registry, the owner of the Tai Lam Wu plot, Siu Luen-sang, bought the land in July last year for HK$4 million. Two months later he sold it to Asia Pacific Information Company, in which he was a shareholder, for HK$6 million.

Siu is also a shareholder and director of the Hong Kong Arts and Crafts Association.

Correction: In an earlier version of this article, the photo caption read "Volunteer Sue Bradley at the Stray Friends shelter." It has been amended to "Narelle Pamuk, chairwoman of Sai Kung Stray Friends, at the group's shelter."